Audio visual equipment financing

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    Chris Godfrey

    Page written by Chris Godfrey. Last reviewed on July 19, 2024. Next review due October 1, 2025.

    Big screens, big sounds. Audio visual (AV) equipment puts you in the picture and tells you what you need to know. Movie houses, theaters, sports events, conferences and almost every other type of event or venue need AV equipment to impress their audience. However, this kind of tech does not come cheap. Even a small show may need equipment worth many thousands of dollars to deliver the effects that organizers need. 

    Buying big-ticket AV equipment with cash can put a serious dent in your bank balance. That’s why AV companies, venue owners and event organizers use AV equipment financing to buy the bells and whistles they need. Read on to learn more about this kind of funding and how it can help your business make an impact without hurting cash flow.

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      What is audio visual equipment?

      Audio visual equipment includes devices that deliver a visual or aural (sound) effect to your audience. This can be anything from microphones, projectors and monitors, all the way up to the mega sound systems you see at rock concerts or the jumbotron screens you find at major sports venues. 

      Most events, regardless of scale, require some AV equipment to increase the entertainment and information values of the show. This could be a simple microphone system to enhance a speaker’s voice, or it could include major laser effects, surround-sound systems and giant TV screens.

      What is audio visual equipment financing?

      Audio visual equipment financing refers to specialist business loans that help organizations buy the AV equipment they need. Financing may be more tax-efficient than paying with cash and it can take the strain off working capital, allowing organizations to pay for the equipment over time instead of all at once. 

      AV equipment financing is typically provided by online lenders instead of traditional banks and credit unions. Popular AV financing products include:

      Equipment financing

      The most common way to buy audio visual equipment, equipment loans are ‘self-collateralizing’ – like auto loans – you use the AV equipment as you pay for it, while the lender maintains a lien on the machinery. Once you pay the loan back, the lender releases the lien, and you own the equipment outright. No added collateral is required.

      Business term loan

      The standard type of business loan. You receive a single, lump-sum cash injection and then pay it back in regular instalments, plus interest and any fees, over a fixed period of up to 25 years. Collateral may be required.

      Business line of credit

      This is a business loan that functions like a high-value credit card but comes with lower interest rates and fees. Withdraw as much as you want when you want from a loan facility up to the limit of your borrowing. You only pay interest on the sums you withdraw, not the whole line. This can significantly reduce your borrowing costs. Collateral may be required.

      Invoice financing

      Also known as account receivables financing, this type of loan allows you to borrow against the value of your unpaid invoices and is best for B2B organizations. The lender will usually provide up to 95% of the invoice value within a few days or even hours of the bill being raised.  Your invoices act as security for the loan, no added collateral is required.

      Merchant cash advance

      Available for businesses that accept customer payments by credit and debit card. You borrow against the value of your card sales. As your card sales increase, your borrowing limit goes up. Pay the loan back with a fixed percentage of your card sales on a daily, weekly or monthly basis. Your sales act as security for the loan, no added collateral is required.

      Business credit cards

      If you have good credit, it may be possible to secure a business credit card with a high limit to buy your AV equipment. The application process is usually online, fast, streamlined and does away with the need for piles of paperwork – in many cases you won’t even need a formal business structure to apply. Collateral usually not required.

      Why is AV equipment important in event planning?

      Events are typically staged to deliver information, sell something, or provide entertainment. (We see this with events such as conferences, trade shows and pop concerts). Ensuring your audience can hear and see what’s going on at all times is essential – which means building a strong audio visual component into your event planning. In many cases, the quality, reliability and strength of your AV equipment will determine if your event succeeds or not.

      5 common types of AV equipment

      There are many types of audio visual equipment, but the most common devices include:

      Microphones

      Microphones capture sound and either send the signal to a recording or transmitting device or to amplifiers and speakers that broadcast the sound – usually voice or music – to a live audience.

      Speakers

      Speakers enhance the sound signals they receive from microphones or recorded media – for example, as seen in home TV theaters. Speakers make the received signals audible to the human ear and they are usually used in sets to produce a varied sound spectrum. 

      Projectors and screens

      Projectors and screens are used to display static or moving images – typically in much larger format than the original source imagery. Projectors can deliver images from hard content format – such as slides or from video tape – or from software such as digital files. Screens can be simple folding or static white panels that capture a projected image, or they can be large-scale TV screens that deliver hi-resolution broadcast or recorded imagery.

      Lighting

      Lighting can make any event into a visual spectacle and audio-visual lighting can be as varied as simple spotlights that illuminate products on display or a person on stage, or as complex as laser shows that provide highly technical moving imagery that is often synchronized to music.

      Cables and adapters

      None of the equipment above will work without the services of cables and adapters. These basic components are the nervous system of any event AV system, linking devices to power, and each other, as well as computers, routers and recorded media. Cables and adapters come in hundreds of different formats and their quality and reliability is critical to the impact of any AV presentation.

      How to apply for audio visual equipment finance?

      You can improve your chances of getting approved for AV equipment financing by preparing in advance. Key tasks to take care of include:

      • Identify your need for the loan. Why do you need the money? You must present a strong case for funding to secure AV finance and your financial records must support this need, indicating how the loan will deliver your plan – and critically, how you will pay the loan back. 

      • Check your personal and business credit scores. It is common for mistakes to occur on credit reports and incorrect information could have an adverse impact on your loan application. Ensure the data is correct. If there are errors, get them fixed before applying for your loan – and be aware that fixing a credit score can take time and there are no ‘fast credit repairs’ despite the many promises from online ‘credit doctors’ who say they can perform miracles for your score.

      • Get your paperwork in order. Lenders may need to see bank statements (6 to 18 months), balance sheet, profit and loss statements, cashflow projections, list of debts, list of assets, customer database, documents that reveal the structure of your business (corporation, LLC, etc.), certificates of good standing, tax returns and more. 

      • Build a good business plan and pitch. This goes back to your need for the loan. Depending on how much you are asking for, lenders will expect a detailed and insightful business plan that explains why you need the funds and what they will do for your business once you have them. Business plans should do more than paint a rosy picture – explain the risks involved, what the downsides could be – and how you intend to overcome them. If you cannot produce a business plan yourself, it may be worth paying an external service to do this for you. 

      Research and compare lender programs: Interest rates and fees for audio visual equipment financing can vary significantly, so it makes sense to shop around before settling on a lender. You can do this by approaching banks, credit unions and online lenders one by one, or you can use the services of a loan marketplace that will introduce you to a choice of AV loans from different lenders. Some marketplace platforms can also give you advice and help you with the application process. This can be especially useful for borrowers who have never taken out a business loan before.

      Get started with Swoop

      No matter if you’re seeking your first audio visual equipment loan or you’re a seasoned borrower, working with business finance experts can make all the difference when applying for funding. Contact Swoop to discuss your borrowing needs, get help with your application and to compare high-quality AV equipment finance deals from a choice of lenders. Give your business the star treatment – get the best AV equipment in town. Register with Swoop today.

      Written by

      Chris Godfrey

      Chris is a freelance copywriter and content creator. He has been active in the marketing, advertising, and publishing industries for more than twenty-five years. Writing for Wells Fargo Bank, Visa, Experian, Ebay, Flywire, insurers and pension funds, his words have appeared online and in print to inform, entertain and explain the complex world of US consumer and business finance.

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      At Swoop we want to make it easy for SMEs to understand the sometimes overwhelming world of business finance and insurance. Our goal is simple – to distill complex topics, unravel jargon, offer transparent and impartial information, and empower businesses to make smart financial decisions with confidence.

      Find out more about Swoop’s editorial principles by reading our editorial policy.

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